In the early 1990s, the cigar industry experienced a boom that would change the landscape of the industry forever. Dubbed the "cigar boom," this period saw a surge in demand for premium cigars, as well as a rise in the number of cigar smokers. In this article, we'll explore the causes and effects of the cigar boom of the 1990s.
Causes of the Cigar Boom
One of the primary causes of the cigar boom was the rise of the "yuppie" culture in the 1980s. Yuppies, or young urban professionals, were known for their love of luxury goods and the image of sophistication that came with them. Cigars, with their association with wealth, power, and success, became a popular status symbol among yuppies.
Another factor that contributed to the cigar boom was the relaxation of trade restrictions with Cuba. While the U.S. embargo on Cuban products remained in place, the government began allowing Cuban cigars to be imported for personal use. This sparked a renewed interest in premium cigars, and the demand for Cuban cigars skyrocketed.
Finally, the cigar boom was also fueled by the growth of cigar magazines and cigar-focused media. Magazines like Cigar Aficionado, which debuted in 1992, helped to elevate cigars from a simple indulgence to a lifestyle. These publications showcased the latest in cigar trends, news, and culture, making cigars more accessible and appealing to a wider audience.
Effects of the Cigar Boom
The cigar boom had a profound impact on the cigar industry, as well as on the broader cultural landscape. The demand for premium cigars was so high that many manufacturers struggled to keep up, leading to shortages and price increases. Some manufacturers even began cutting corners to meet the demand, leading to a decline in quality for some cigars.
The cigar boom also had a significant impact on the way cigars were marketed and sold. Manufacturers began creating new and innovative blends and brands to cater to the growing demand, and cigar shops and lounges began popping up all over the country to cater to the new wave of cigar enthusiasts.
Additionally, the cigar boom helped to elevate the status of cigars as a cultural icon. Cigars became a fixture in popular culture, appearing in films, TV shows, and advertisements. Even non-smokers began to associate cigars with luxury and sophistication, making them a status symbol that transcended the cigar-smoking community.
The cigar boom of the 1990s was a transformative period in the cigar industry and American culture as a whole. While the boom ultimately subsided, the impact it had on the industry and cultural landscape cannot be overstated. Cigars continue to be a beloved indulgence for many, and the legacy of the cigar boom lives on in the many cigar shops, lounges, and brands that emerged during that time.